Wednesday, March 20, 2013

His Lady in Green: Chapter Fourteen

‘If you knew how much I’ve longed for this day you might have got here sooner,’ Eve heard a deep voice grumble when Ranulf Daubenay got over the impact of her landing in his arms like a ripe plum off a tree. ‘Welcome, laggard lady,’ he added with all sorts of ideas about making up lost time in his bold gaze.
She felt mature strength in his honed body against hers this time and she wondered what battles he’d fought while she was away.
‘How long have I been gone?’
‘Far too long,’ he murmured. There was such a heady longing in his brilliantly blue eyes, she felt sinfully tempted to give up her quest and stay right here.
‘I’m serious this time, Ranulf, how long is it since we met?’ she demanded, wriggling in his arms to remind herself Sebastian was her reality, not a magnificent buccaneer from another time.
‘Five long years, my lady. Half a decade of yearning for this...’
He lowered his head and his mouth teased a whisper above hers before taking a hungry kiss she wanted to fall into and never think again. She felt goose-bumps slide along her spine as he nuzzled her mouth to test her lips with a lick that made her shiver with wanting more. He let the slick satin of her dress slide her down his vigorous body until she was on her feet again and she gasped at the emphatic message that body sent her about how strongly he’d yearned and still did. Ranulf kept his eyes open and all his wicked intentions to seduce and daze her until she couldn’t leave were there in his blazing blue gaze. He nipped at her mouth as she slicked it and tasted him on her tongue. All they could never share twisted and fought against the desire to forget any other Daubenays existed in his arms.
‘You’ve been fighting?’ she murmured as her exploring fingers felt scars and welts on his upper arms and torso and her heart raced at the thought of him risking his body against sword and dagger.
‘Only restlessness and boredom today, my lovely lady, but treason and war plague this realm and I must fight for my Queen and country,’ he said soberly. ‘Would there was a better way to settle an argument than this senseless slaughter of fathers and sons on both sides.’
‘Aye, would there was,’ Eve echoed as she saw the true depth and breadth of this man’s humanity under the rogue’s charm he used to hide it from the wider world.
‘You’re leaving me?’ he asked with a depth of sadness it hurt her to inflict even as she nodded regretfully.
‘I have to.’
‘No, you don’t have to go, any more than Phillip of Spain had to send half the ships in Europe to overwhelm our little island because our stubborn Bess won’t marry him or bend to his will. You’re only leaving me because you don’t want to stay.’
‘Ah but I do,’ she argued and the ache for him was hot and heavy in her belly and even heavier in her heart, for he was a warrior and a man she could have been proud to love. ‘I have to take the dagger back and find the emeralds. You must forget me and choose a lady as bold and brave as you are, Ranulf. If you don’t, my love can’t exist in the time and place where I belong with your many times future heir.’
‘You twist and turn words better than a poet or a playwright.’
‘No, if I did I might be able to make you understand why it’s so important that I get back to him.’
‘I know about my own loneliness, Lady in Green, and will soon learn more, but here, take this with you,’ he offered and held out the jewelled dagger sheathed on his belt.
Instead of taking it, Eve watched in horror as her own hand seemed to waver and fade as she reached out to grasp it.
‘I can’t,’ she protested as she lost the reassurance of Ranulf, as solid and completely a man as any she had ever met, even as he morphed into the brasher Sir Ranulf she first met earlier tonight, or whatever time it was in this mess of then and now she was caught up in.
‘At least this must be yours, Lady,’ the younger and even bolder Ranulf said with his wicked grin, ‘remember me whenever you look on it, my Emerald Queen,’ he urged and spun a brilliant cut emerald towards her that looked oddly familiar.
It felt warm from his proximity and she marvelled at the weight and fineness of the stone even as she felt herself torn out of Ranulf’s time as if she was being wrenched from someone precious. She sighed, for yet another might have been, as she slipped one of the Meryngham Emeralds into the wisp of an evening purse still wrapped securely round her wrist and wondered where on earth she might land next.

English author Elizabeth Beacon is delighted to take part in Eve's surprising journey and had enormous fun throwing a new challenge at the poor girl. Eve promises to be a match for any rascally ancestor of Sebastian's she meets on her path to true love. Visit Elizabeth's website at:

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Elizabeth Beacon's Seaborne Trilogy continues with:
The Scarred Earl, Harlequin Historical, May 2013
The Black Sheep's Return, Harlequin Historical, August 2013

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